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three pairs of lovers with space



“Boy-Lovers in Relation to Women” is the fourth part of “Man/Boy Relationships”, the third section of “Adult Lovers”, the second chapter of Loving Boys, the encyclopaedic study of Greek love by the eminent Dutch lawyer, Edward Brongersma, of which the first volume (including this) was published by Global Academic Publishers in New York in 1986.


Angels in Sodom d5

There have always been “normal”, i.e. predominantly woman-loving, men who have sought sex with boys. Their counterpart is the boy-lover who seeks sexual intercourse with women. In the U.S.A., no less than half of the boy-lovers are said to be married.[1] The possibility of using a female as a substitute for an adolescent boy was recognised in the Old Testament Book of Genesis: the men of Sodom lay siege to the house of Lot, where beautiful young strangers had been taken in as guests, because they wanted to have sex with them. Lot tried to save face as host by offering his daughters, virgins still, to the mob (XIX: 1029). Of course, we find, as always in the domain of sexuality, many variations on this theme.

To some paedophiles, especially those who are drawn to small children, the sex of the partner has little importance: the age is the decisive thing.[2] But it is hardly unusual for even those who prefer more mature boys to feel drawn to women as well.

Jacques de Brethmas[3] confesses: “Thinking about boys will give me an immediate erection. If a woman is to produce the same reaction she must take my penis in her hand. It’s quite possible for me to spend a night with a woman, and from time to time I do. But during the day the presence of a woman becomes intolerable and I feel much happier in the company of a boy.” For de Brethmas, a woman was the best substitute he had yet discovered when boys were unavailable. A similar picture is developed in the Dutch novel Stadsgezichten by A. Moonen.[4] The German anarchist Peter Schult tells how he shared his bed with a mother and her fourteen-year-old son and had sex with both of them in turn. On another occasion he did the same thing with a woman and her young brother.[5]

Roman poet and boy 15. 1st BC d4

Much deeper are the ties and passions described by an author like Gabriel Matzneff. Matzneff followed the example of the Roman poet Catullus who, when his tempestuous relationship with Clodia (Lesbia) had run its course (remember Carl Orff’s delightful Catulli Carmina!), tried to find consolation in the embraces of Juventus, handsome scion of a patrician family.[6] Matzneff had likewise a long-lasting relationship with a young woman. When at last it came to an end he was shattered and he turned for comfort to a thirteen-year-old boy. He concluded: “I am acquainted with both kinds of love. The relationships which society approves of are not the happiest.”[7]

No wonder, things being what they are, that many boy-lovers are married; the married boy-lover is hardly exceptional.[8] But the circumstances of these marriages can vary enormously. Some wives are quite unaware of their husbands’ attraction to boys, some have their suspicions, some have been well informed. In the first two cases it is common for a feeling of uneasiness to arise, as most women intuitively perceive that something is lacking in their relationship. The man may feel guilty about keeping silent about something which is such a central element in his life and which prevents him from showing in his sexual relations with his wife the kind of passion she feels entitled to. He may feel threatened by the risk of discovery and the catastrophe that could bring to his marriage and his children. Sexually he could be driven to the point reached by one of Stekel’s patients, about whom the famous psychoanalyst reported: “Daily he had intercourse with his wife, often even several times a day, and nevertheless nearly every day he had to masturbate as well, even immediately after coitus, the reason being that intercourse was never able to satisfy his real appetite.”[9] In the case of other individuals, quite the opposite happens, and their desire for intercourse fades completely away.

Sometimes we find a man marrying a woman because he is in love with her younger brother to whom she bears a striking resemblance.

26 An 18-year-old Moroccan told me he used to spend weekends with the family of his future wife in another town. Before going to sleep he was permitted to carry on some petting activities with her but had to stop short of intercourse because she wanted above all to enter marriage as a virgin. The petting, of course, put him in a state of violent tension, a fact which his future wife and her family readily understood. The problem was solved by letting him later share the bed of her fourteen-year-old brother on whom he could satisfy his passion. The boy, who was on very good terms with his future brother-in-law, liked this immensely.

1960 apartment. Man 35 woman 30 boy 15. d

Where the woman is or becomes aware of the fact that her husband’s appetite is mainly for boys, she can react in many different ways, from deep hatred resulting in divorce to complete tolerance and understanding. The first was the tragedy of Oscar Wilde and occurred in the life of André Gide. In one revealing story by Rudolph von Abele[10], apparently inspired by the marriage of Gide with his niece Emmanuele, we find a heart-rending description of the horror his wife experienced when she discovered her husband having sex with a hotel servant-boy. On the other hand there are wives who help their husbands collect pictures of naked boys, who invite young cousins or sons of friends in order to please their husbands, and who will tell you, one way or another, “If he were unfaithful to me with a woman I’d never forgive him, but his relations with a boy I accept with equanimity for that is quite a different matter.[11] This is hardly a new idea. The ancient Greeks said that the great singer Orpheus, wishing to remain faithful to his lost wife Euridice, satisfied his sexual needs with boys.[12] In practice, however, it may become very difficult to maintain such tolerance under all circumstances. It can also happen that the attitude of the wife may change during the course of marriage. Once she becomes a mother, the fear of her husband’s adventures being discovered and disaster being brought down upon her and her child might make her more and more opposed to his other life style. Marriages of boy-lovers are seldom successful.[13] In his well-known study on prostitution[14], Carlier, however, reported that he knew of no less than five cases in which such a marriage went well: the wife liked boys too and shared with her husband their favours in a happy threesome.

A divorced or unmarried mother who falls in love with a man whom she knows to be a lover of children will often willingly grant him a great deal of liberty with her son, firmly convinced that this is a good way to win him over for herself and so “convert” him. She might let him shower with the boy, or even sleep with him. Of course, she will also try to sleep with him herself – and often succeeds, for many boy-lovers are able to have sex with an attractive female companion. But sooner or later disappointment will be bound to set in, and grow enormously as she realises with astonishment and horror that her own child is triumphing over her in the battle of love, and thus she distances herself from the man more and more. At the very best, this leads to a breakdown in relations, leaving an embittered woman, a lonely, unhappy, bewildered boy helplessly manipulated by two adults, and a man who had thought he dwelt in paradise now cast into hell. At worst, the case can be turned over to the police. Such arrangements never work out well.


Continue to Variety in Age Preferences


[1] Rossman, P., Sexual Experience Between Men and Boys. New York: Association Press, 1976, p. 6. [Author’s reference]

[2] Pieterse, M., Pedofielen over pedofilie. Zeist: NISSO, 1982,  I-26 [Author’s reference]

[3] Brethmas, J. de, Traité de chasse au minet. Paris: Perchoir, 1979, p. 12. [Author’s reference]

[4] Moonen, A., Stadsgerechten. Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1978. [Author’s reference]

[5] Schult, P., Besuche in Sackgassen. München: Trikont, 1978, pp. 49, 66. [Author’s reference]

[6] Bullough, V. L., Homosexuality – A History. New York: Garland, 1979, pp. 140-141. [Author’s reference]

[7] Gabriel Matzneff, Les passions schismatiques, Paris: Stock, 1977, pp. 47-48, 129 [Author’s reference].

[8] Geiser, R. L., Hidden Victims – The Sexual Abuse of Children. Boston: Beacon Press, 1979, p. 79 ; Rouweler-Wutz, L., Pedofielen, in contact of conflict met de samenleving? Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus, 1976, p. 31 [Author’s reference]

[9] Stekel, W., Psychosexueller Infantilismus. Berlin: Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1922, p. 325. [Author’s reference]

[10] Abele, R. von, The Vigil of Emmeline Gore. Cambridge (MA): Riverside Press, 1962. [Author’s reference]

[11] Barrington, J. S., Sexual Alternatives for Men. London: Alternative Publishing, 1981, pp. 133, 136. [Author’s reference]

[12] Bullough, V. L., Sexual Variance In Society and History. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1976, p. 105. [Author’s reference] Ovid, The Metamorphoses, X was one ancient writer who reported this. {Website footnote]

[13] Pieterse, M., Pedofielen over pedofilie. Zeist: NISSO, 1982, II-5. [Author’s reference]

[14] Carlier, F., Les deux prostitutions. Paris, 1887, p. 373. [Author’s reference]




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